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Fantasy Intelligence Report — Week 15

B.D.N. – Breaking Down News

In Green Bay, Packers’ starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers is listed as doubtful on the injury report (concussion) and no official decision has been made in regards to his status for Sunday night’s game against the New England Patriots.

According to
The
Green Bay Press Gazette, head coach Mike McCarthy insists that the team will be prepared for Sunday’s game with or without Rodgers, as backup Matt Flynn has been taking first-team reps all week.

“I’m not going to confirm the starting quarterback at this point,” McCarthy said Friday afternoon. “Just as I’ve stated all week, we’re prepared to play the game with Matt as our starter. We’ve started that process since Monday.”

The non-bullish news has kicked some fantasy owners right in the jaw, but most of those unfortunate ones will probably be twiddling their fantasy thumbs waiting for next season. To those who still have some of the Packers receivers, and are concerned about their value without Rodgers in the lineup – don’t be.

Last week, not having Rodgers for a whole half wasn’t the reason why the Green Bay offense went flat. It was a complete mental breakdown all around, especially in the trenches, a place where much of the blame was placed this week.

“The offensive line spoke in private and watched film together, and we’ve done a little more this week and will continue that trend,” said left guard Daryn Colledge. “We know that there’s some things that we did wrong as an offense last week, but they’re things that we can correct because they’re things we’ve done right all season long. We’d like to think that last week was more of an anomaly.”

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin put it in to the proper perspective though.

“It was symptomatic of the whole team,” Philbin said. “I don’t think our wide receivers had a great day. I don’t think our tight ends had a great day. I don’t think our running backs had a great day, our quarterbacks either. I think maybe there’s too much focus on those guys. Certainly, they’ve got to play better. But I think they’re part of the problem, not the problem. No excuses. We’ve certainly got to get a better job and performance out of them.”

The good news here is that New England is 31st against the pass (266.2 yards per game), and gives up a lot underneath, something I suspect the Packers offense will take full advantage of, especially if Flynn starts at quarterback.

As for fantasy starters – I would definitely start wide receiver Greg Jennings no matter what, and give Donald Driver a long look as a possible sleeper candidate in the slot.

In Denver, word is that rookie quarterback lobbing lefty Tim Tebow was seen taking most of the first team work this week.

According to
The Denver Post, Kyle Orton’s ribs are still sore, and nothing officially has been decided in regards to the normal starting quarterback’s status.

“I still think we have time. I’m not in a hurry to make that decision,” head coach Eric Studesville said.

This would be Tebow’s first career start, and although indications in Denver are that he’s been throwing the ball well, there is still that existing negative speculation about his abilities. Add to that the opponent who will be matched against No. 1 option Brandon Lloyd, the Oakland Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha, and there is plenty to be worried about if you’re a fantasy owner.

“He’s one of those guys — I compare him to Champ Bailey — he doesn’t quit on the play,” Lloyd said. “There’s never a point when you catch the ball and you can relax, come down with the ball. Because he’s always swiping at the ball, trying to get the ball out.”

In his last game against the Raiders, Lloyd caught just one pass for 46 yards as the Broncos were blown away 59-14. It was also a game that Asomugha didn’t play in.

For the record though, in the last two games that the shutdown corner has played in, opposing top targets have caught a combined 11 passes for 183 yards.

In other news …

According to
The Seattle Times, Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams expects to return this week against the Atlanta Falcons.

“It has been a long three weeks,” Williams said. “I’m excited to be back.”

His timing is perfect, especially after seeing starter Deon Butler go down for the season with a leg injury …

According to
The
Baltimore Sun, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees isn’t putting too much emphasis in to the Baltimore Ravens’ implosion last Monday night against the Houston Texans, like some Ravens fans are.

“I don’t buy too much into that,” the New Orleans Saints quarterback said during a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday afternoon. “Just because they had a 28-7 lead, and so it seemed like it was a lot of prevent [defense], pretty conservative. The Texans have a great offense, and they were able to move the ball in two-minute situations and stuff at the end of the game. But I have a lot of respect for that defense. I always have. So I just kind of see that as a little bit of an aberration.”

Brees has owned AFC North opponents this season though. In games against the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, he has thrown for 300-plus yards and two touchdowns in each. And in his last game against the Ravens he threw for 383 years and three scores.

The

Florida Times-Union tried to use Peyton Manning’s recent struggles to paint a picture that he’s just not the same quarterback this season. However, head Jim Caldwell thinks people are not getting the bigger picture.

“When you look at the interceptions he had during that stretch, a lot of them weren’t necessarily his fault,” Caldwell said. “There were things that maybe weren’t a good decision here and there, but there were tipped balls. There was a little problem with protection on a couple where he got hit, things of that nature, that don’t get counted in. My point being, he really wasn’t as far off as people would think. You look at those numbers, and they don’t tell you the whole story.”

What
The Times-Union failed to point out though in this piece is that Manning is averaging 278.6 yards and two touchdowns per game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in his career, and threw for 352 yards and two touchdowns earlier in the season against them.

F.T. – Final Thought

Back in June I bought a book titled “Coming Back Stronger.” It’s the story of Drew Brees and what New Orleans has meant to him and his family. I was entrenched in it, reading a chapter at a time when I had the time to do so. I haven’t finished it yet, but that’s only because I gave it to my father to read.

Now, I don’t know if he has read any of it yet, but I can assure you that from what I read I couldn’t be any happier for Brees and the honors that he has received this year. See, overcoming obstacles is hard for some, but for others who read a real life story of someone who has, like Brees, it’s much easier.

Someday, I suspect that I will have to use Brees’ story to overcome adversity myself. During economic and trying times like these it’s just nice to know there are stories like his that motivate people like me to do extraordinary things.

Thank you Drew, for not only being the rock on my fantasy team this season, but for sharing your story and being a real life sports hero who epitomizes what the true meaning of giving is.

Good luck this week.

Merry Christmas!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for Fantasysharks.com.

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FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.